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Rising U.S. Earnings Inequality and Family Labor Supply: The Covariance Structure of Intrafamily Earnings

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  • Dean R. Hyslop

Abstract

This paper studies the labor supply contributions to individual and family earnings inequality during the period of rising wage inequality in the early 1980's. Working couples have positively correlated labor market outcomes, which are almost entirely attributable to permanent factors. An intertemporal family labor supply model with this feature is used to estimate labor supply elasticities for husbands of 0.05, and wives of 0.40. This implies that labor supply explains little of the rising annual earnings inequality for married men, but over 20 percent of the rise in family inequality and 50 percent of the modest rise in female inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Dean R. Hyslop, 2001. "Rising U.S. Earnings Inequality and Family Labor Supply: The Covariance Structure of Intrafamily Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 755-777, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:91:y:2001:i:4:p:755-777
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.91.4.755
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Altonji, Joseph G, 1986. "Intertemporal Substitution in Labor Supply: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 176-215, June.
    2. Ashenfelter, Orley & Ham, John, 1979. "Education, Unemployment, and Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 99-116, October.
    3. Rebecca M. Blank & David Card, 1993. "Poverty, Income Distribution, and Growth: Are They Still Connected," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(2), pages 285-340.
    4. Ashenfelter, Orley & Card, David, 1985. "Using the Longitudinal Structure of Earnings to Estimate the Effect of Training Programs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(4), pages 648-660, November.
    5. Heckman, James J. & Robb, Richard Jr., 1985. "Alternative methods for evaluating the impact of interventions : An overview," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 239-267.
    6. John Fitzgerald & Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1998. "An Analysis of Sample Attrition in Panel Data: The Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(2), pages 251-299.
    7. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-445, March.
    8. David Card, 1990. "Intertemporal Labor Supply: An Assessment," Working Papers 649, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    9. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics,in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
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    11. David M. Cutler & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Macroeconomic Performance and the Disadvantaged," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 1-74.
    12. Johnson, Terry R & Pencavel, John H, 1984. "Dynamic Hours of Work Functions for Husbands, Wives, and Single Females," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 363-389, March.
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    14. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1, April.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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